Bill passes, allows alternate transport for mentally ill

Ambulances and law enforcement vehicles have often been used in transporting patients with...
Ambulances and law enforcement vehicles have often been used in transporting patients with mental illness. However, communities will now have more options.(Source: Gray News)
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 3:13 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Senator Ed McBroom’s legislation to enable communities to establish an alternative way of transporting individuals with severe mental illness for involuntary hospitalization was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Tuesday.

“Involuntary mental health transport operations are extremely expensive and potentially leave communities, especially small U.P. communities, vulnerable for days at a time,” said Senator McBroom. “Giving communities the option of contracting qualified professionals to transport people with severe mental impairments is not only good for our communities and police departments, but also for those in need of better care, and this new law provides that opportunity.”

Senate Bill 101, now Public Act 146 of 2022, enables communities to transport severely mentally ill individuals using security transport officers instead of the police.

The new law allows a county to create a panel consisting of a member of law enforcement, the county administrator, a judge and a mental health professional that could ultimately recommend the use of a private company that the county board of commissioners could contract with to transport such individuals.

The panels would be required to ensure selected companies meet certain professional and community standards.

“I would like to thank Director Hertel and the administration for their willingness to work on this issue,” said Senator McBroom. “This was clearly a priority for local communities as the issue was raised to me regularly, and I’m grateful for all who worked to help make the change a reality.”

Contracted security transport officers may only transport an individual to or from a hospital, a mental health screening unit, or other mental health treatment center pursuant to a court order and would not be permitted to arrest or take an individual into protective custody.

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